Spyhopping Orcas

December 14, 2011 by staff 

Spyhopping Orcas, It likely won’t open full-time until April, but today we can give readers a sneak peek inside the new Vancouver Island Visitor Centre close to Cumberland Interchange.

Work is still progressing on the $4 million project, but most of the displays in the drumshaped exhibition gallery are now in place.

They aim to highlight the attractions, facilities and businesses of the Comox Valley and Vancouver Island.

The gallery is divided into four themed areas – oceans, forests, alpine and agriculture. In each, there are hands-on exhibits and photo opportunities to get people interested in the experiences they can enjoy on the Island.

For example, in the oceans display area, there is a touch tank sponsored by the B.C. Shellfish Growers Association where visitors can get their hands wet learning about the different types of sea life harvested in the area.

There are also photo points, including a three-dimensional spyhopping orca to promote whale watching trips, and a sliced-inhalf kayak against a shoreline photomural so people can pretend to paddle at sea.

In the forests area, they can climb inside a big tree trunk to look out and learn about the natural history of the area, or get in the saddle of a mountain bike to be pictured as though riding a forest trail in Cumberland.

In the alpine zone, one photo point features a four-seat chair from a Mount Washington lift, strategically placed against a photo backdrop of the ski hills, while another has realistic representations of Vancouver Island marmots amid the rocks.

And in the rural agriculture area, the growing winery industry of the area is explained in a video presentation projected through a screen embedded in a wine barrel.

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